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Dripping Springs from Peralta
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2001-11-20  
1,  2 
mini location map2002-03-31
6 by photographer avatarmgrosent
photographer avatar
 
Dripping Springs from PeraltaPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 31 2002
mgrosent
Hiking 632 AEG
Hiking
632 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I hiked from the Peralta Trailhead .

About a mile from Reeds Water on the Coffee
Flat Trail
I saw the first cow pie. 
Their number increased over the next mile.  None was steaming but most were
soft enough so that they must have been less than three weeks old.  The trail
was progressively filled with hoofprints and manure.

 

After after about another quarter of a
mile, the
ground at trailside changed. 
Everything small was flattened, no  grass or straw remained, broken vegetation
and branches, scattered everywhere.  The ground was reduced to dust.

 

Further down the trail I came to a brand
new gate that had never been there before.  The fence on either side of it had
new barbed wire.  However, this has always looked to me like a fence that was
abandoned when the area became wilderness.  This work looked to me as if it
had been done by mistake (or to impress the unknowing) as the cow pies,
trampled vegetation and rutting were the same on both sides.  I had seen none
of this three+ weeks ago; the trail then had really looked like wilderness up
to the gate at Reeds Water.  It appeared that a large number of cattle have
stampeded through this last mile of Wilderness Trail in the past three weeks. 
(?Was someone trying to make a point?)

I saw no cows on the state land, but
Randolph Canyon was a mess, unchanged since my visit in February.

 


The gate in the Wilderness Boundary fence
in Randolph Canyon was prettied up with new wire, galvanized pipe and poured
concrete.  There was nothing wrong with the gate before, this fence, it
appears, is to keep the cows INSIDE the Wilderness (read on)

 

About halfway from the Wilderness Boundary
to Dripping Springs I saw three cows, they ran away from me and I did not get
a picture.  Walking on things got worse, the Canyon was, as before, a very sad
sight; every flat area trampled, water pools with holes around and cow pies in
the water.

 


 

I neared Dripping Springs and looked again
at my favorite (and I'm sure others' favorite)
campsite.  There were three cows just beyond the far
(streambed) side who got away before I could take my picture.

 

 Just look at it, can anyone call this
"stewardship"?

 

And here is a slightly secluded corner of
this
campsite.  I remember putting my tent here. 

 


Even if the cattlemen stopped now, how long
would it take for this to recover?  But read on.

 

 After eating lunch at Dripping Springs
hiking out was not an uplifting experience.  There were pools of water , and
after a short while there was a
cow grazing with her
feet at poolside.  (Take my word for it this is a COW, not a steer.)


 


It wasn't much further, still within about
a quarter of a mile of the Spring and in an area where there were still nearby
pools, I met a heard of EIGHT cows.  You don't see them all here, but
I counted carefully three times; some were lying down and
others not moving much.

Since my hike to Dripping Springs on Feb
28, nothing has changed except the cattlemen now seem to concentrate their
stock where there's water.  They have enough cows right now in the Wilderness
and specifically in Randolph Canyon, to at least sustain if not worsen the
destruction and pollution I saw a month ago and to ensure that this area is
lost for the foreseeable future.

 

On the way out I met a backpacking couple
on the Dutchman Trail.  They were from out of state and had been told by a
(nameless) ranger that there had been water at Dripping Springs a week ago and
that there was also water at Hole Spring.  We chatted and when I said I had
just dayhiked Dripping Springs I assured them that there was plenty of water
there.  I also asked if the ranger had told them about the state of Dripping
Springs and Randolph Canyon.  He/she hadn't so I spent a few minutes giving
them an earful of what is described above, and told them that they'd have to
do some cleaning to camp near the Spring and also, that there was no other
place to camp (that I knew about) in the area.  I warned them that a pleasant
wilderness experience did NOT await them and I urged them to tell anyone who
will listen about what the ranchers are doing to the Wilderness.
_____________________
Martin Rosenthal
mgrosent@earthlink.net

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mgrosent's
1 Photoset

  2002-03-31
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